Influence of Ligula intestinalis plerocercoids (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidea) on the occurrence of eyeflukes in roach (Rutilus rutilus) from a lake in south-east England

Neil Morley, John Lewis

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Vertebrate hosts commonly harbour concurrent infections of different helminth species which may interact with each other in a synergistic, antagonistic or negligible manner. Direct interactions between helminths that share a common site in the host have been regularly reported, but indirect interactions between species that occur in different sites are rarely described, especially in fish hosts. Plerocercoids of Ligula intestinalis are common infections of the peritoneal (body) cavity of roach (Rutilus rutilus) in freshwater habitats. These larval cestodes can cause extensive systemic pathologies to the fish host, which in turn may alter its susceptibility as a target host for other helminth species. The present study, using an existing dataset, investigates the influence of L. intestinalis (ligulosis) on frequently occurring eyefluke infections in roach sampled from a lake in south-east England. The occurrence of two species of eyefluke (Diplostomum sp. and Tylodelphys sp.) in the roach population demonstrated no significant levels of interaction with each other. The prevalence but not mean intensity or abundance of Diplostomum sp. was significantly increased in ligulosed roach, while the incidence of Tylodelphys sp. remained unchanged. Analyses of bilateral asymmetry in the occurrence of eyeflukes in left and right eyes of infected fish demonstrate that Tylodelphys sp. shows significant asymmetry in non-ligulosed roach, which is not replicated in ligulosed individuals. In contrast, Diplostomum sp. shows no evidence of asymmetry in either ligulosed or non-ligulosed fish.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Helminthology
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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